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Television Wars

Blogger Jeff Jarvis wades into the television fight by suggesting that Cablevision customers switch to the “better service” Verizon Fios—but that doesn’t mean he’s siding with ABC! He says: “[ABC]—like Fox before them—are trying to get us to pay for free TV channels. This was a point I wanted to make at last week’s FCC workshop on the future of media: It’s no longer true that broadcast channels are free. Fewer than 13% of Americans get broadcast channels over the air; the rest of us have to pay for cable or satellite to get access and now these channels—which got our spectrum for free—are trying to charge us yet more. Who’s fighting for us? Not the FCC. But I think that as these fees are fought over and granted to broadcast channels and passed on to viewers—adding up to a likely $72 for New York’s half-a-dozen commercial channels—then I still think that there will be a consumer revolt and the FCC will have the cause it seems to have wanted to require a la carte pricing for cable. Then both broadcasters and cable operators and their parent companies will get their just desserts. I will not pay for 90 percent of the channels I am forced to pay for now. That will reduce revenue to cable. It will mean that many channels will no longer be subsidized. It will kill marginal channels.”
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